The Development of Cinchona Cultivation and ‘Kina Gaku’ in the Japanese Empire, 1912–45

  • Ya-wen Ku
Part of the Palgrave Studies in World Environmental History book series (PSWEH)


The cinchona tree, a native of South America, had an almost magical effect on malarial fever, following the introduction of its bark into Europe in the first half of the seventeenth century. The successful isolation of quinine alkaloids from cinchona bark in 1820 gave the Western medical profession confidence in its curative powers and that its pure extracts would be even more efficacious.1 Although medical professionals frequently debated quinine’s pharmaceutical effects and most effective dosage,2 quinine gradually became the standard therapy and preventive medicine for malarial fever. The cinchona tree was thus recognized as a critical resource for European powers seeking to establish colonial settlements in the fever-ridden parts of the world.


Central Research Institute Colonial Government Forest Experimental Station Colonial Settlement Japanese Colonial 
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    The numbers were calculated as follows: in 1939, the total consumption of cinchona bark was around 600 tons. With a rate of increase of 6.5 per cent, the consumption in 1949 would have added up to 1,100 tons. Together with the demand from new territories in East Asia (around 1,300 tons), the total amount of cinchona bark required in 1949 was expected to have been 2,400 tons. With the yield per unit of area of the existing cultivated land and the period until harvest taken into consideration, at least 8,000 hectares would have been needed for planting. See Kudō Yakurō 工藤弥九郎, ‘About the 6000-kou Cinchona Plantation’ (規那造林六千甲に就て), Journal of the Taiwan Agricultural Association[台湾農会報] 1, no. 8 (1939): 125–6.Google Scholar
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© Ya-wen Ku 2016

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